Toughie 1003

Toughie No 1003 by Elkamere

Hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty ****Enjoyment ***

This is a proper Toughie and an enjoyable one. It took me some time to get started and after that my progress was steady rather than spectacular. Elkamere has apparently put a message on Facebook which a) apologises for an obscure word which was the result of a late change and b) reveals that there is a gentle theme. Well, a) I don’t know which answer he’s referring to because none of them seem to be that obscure and b) I can’t spot a theme (I did notice that column 14 has two words for sheep if you read upwards, but that doesn’t seem enough for a theme) – so I’m hoping that someone will reveal all. [See comment from Anax/Elkamere].

Do let us know how you got on and please take the time to click on one of the stars below to record your enjoyment factor.

Across Clues

1a  Presumably loose clothing right for this occasion (7,5)
{SLUMBER PARTY} – a very clever semi-all-in-one to start with. An anagram (loose) of PRESUMABLY contains (clothing) the 2-character abbreviation for right.

8a  Farmer‘s short drive around banks of the river (7)
{CROFTER} – a verb to drive or impel loses its last letter (short) then what’s left gets reversed (around). Add the outside letters (banks) of T(h)E and R(iver).

9a  Case maker‘s bill about to be given to customer (7)
{ACCUSER} – the abbreviation for a bill is followed by the single-character abbreviation for about or approximately and a customer or consumer.

11a  Cloud over, primarily blocking sun — correct (7)
{OBSCURE} – string together the abbreviation for an over in cricket, the primary letters of B(locking) S(un) and a verb to correct or put right.

12a  He had to host ball and have a dance (7)
{HOEDOWN} – the contracted form of ‘he had’ contains (to host) the two-dimensional representation of a ball and that’s followed by a verb to have or possess.

13a  Where everyone is painting? What about that! (5)
{EARTH} – a common way of asking ‘what?’ goes round a synonym for painting.

14a  Passed, having obvious knowledge about acceleration (9)
{OVERTAKEN} – an adjective meaning obvious or conspicuous is followed by a word for one’s range of knowledge with A(cceleration) inserted.

16a  Ambassador’s residence in the hood? (9)
{HEADDRESS} – the surface meaning of ‘the hood’ here is an urban neighbourhood (North American slang), but as the definition it’s an example (indicated by the question mark). The abbreviated title for an ambassador is followed by where he lives.

19a  Musicians’ rates very good, initially paid back (5)
{TEMPI} – the abbreviated word meaning very good in a holier-than-thou way is preceded (initially) by the reversal (back) of a verb meaning paid or honoured.

21a  Delivery company anything but bland? Vulgar (7)
{UPSTART} – the initials of a global package delivery company are followed by an adjective meaning sharp to the taste (the opposite of bland).

23a  Secure fan without good fastener (4,3)
{WING NUT} – a verb to secure or land and a fan or aficionado go around (without) G(ood).

24a  Prepared to look at explosive device (7)
{READIED} – a verb meaning to look at is followed by the initials of the sort of explosive device used by the Taliban in Afghanistan.

25a  Thick? I have nothing behind me (7)
{IMPASTO} – if split as (1’1,4,1) this could mean that the speaker is at the back in a race, not having managed to overtake anyone. I’m not really convinced about thick as the definition here, even with the question mark.

26a  Roughly speaking it’s good to hold back fighter (12)
{WELTERWEIGHT} – roughly speaking this could be ‘well to wait’.

Down Clues

1d  Partners put in track finance (7)
{SPONSOR} – put a pair of bridge partners inside the track or trail of an animal.

2d  One minus one? Pity that’s a lie (7)
{UNTRUTH} – remove the I (one) from a word meaning one, then add an old word for pity (a word that we only tend to see these days when it’s followed by –less).

3d  Punter‘s run off — appropriate when turned over (9)
{BARGEPOLE} – this is something that’s used to punt with. String together a verb to run off (to Gretna Green?) and a verb to appropriate or seize, then reverse the lot (when turned over).

4d  Closer to caller with every contact (5)
{REACH} – the closing letter of (calle)R is followed by a synonym for every.

5d  Old canine tooth’s beginning to wobble (7)
{ANCIENT} – an anagram (to wobble) of CANINE and the beginning letter of T(ooth).

6d  In a bunch, so unable to take hard hit (7)
{TUSSOCK} – an adverb meaning so or in this manner loses its H (unable to take hard) and that’s followed by an informal verb to thump.

7d  Pessimist found mobile in Phones 4 U (12)
{SCHOPENHAUER} – this was my last answer and I needed every one of the checking letters. What we have here is a German philosopher regarded as having a pessimistic outlook. His name is an anagram (mobile) of PHONES, the answer to 4d and U. I thought that the definition was a trifle vague.

10d  ‘Surrender‘ — Romeo’s words? (12)
{RENUNCIATION} – the letter that Romeo stands for in the Nato Phonetic Alphabet is followed by the distinct delivery of words.

15d  Where it’s foolish to describe 50 as old (9)
{ERSTWHILE} – an anagram (foolish) of WHERE IT’S contains (to describe) the Roman numeral for 50.

17d  Gentle, like universal parts expert? (7)
{ASSUAGE} – the definition here (gentle) is not an adjective but a verb meaning to make gentle or to soften. Start with a synonym for like or similar to then insert (parts) U(niversal) inside an expert or wise person.

18d  Bust up over first recorder (7)
{DIARIST} – this is not the type of bust that I was hoping for – it’s the sort of bust that the police may organise. Reverse it (over) and add a shorthand way of writing first.

19d  I secure guy X before Y’s taken from unsafe Egypt (4,3)
{TENT PEG} – what X meant in ancient Rome is followed by an anagram (unsafe) of EG(y)PT without the Y.

20d  Outlook email regularly tends to mess up (7)
{MINDSET} – regular letters from eMaIl are followed by an anagram (to mess up) of TENDS.

22d  House party, same old nurses turning up (5)
{TUDOR} – a word for a boring routine (same old) is reversed (turning up) and contains (nursing) a festive party.

I liked 2d and 3d but the clue of the day for me is the excellent 1a. What do you think?


  1. Anax
    Posted June 26, 2013 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

    Sorry Gazza – my mistake. It’s the NEXT puzzle that has the ouchie; that’s the one I thought was scheduled for today. A lot of puzzles flying around recently and my easily addled brain is in uber-addled mode.

    • gazza
      Posted June 26, 2013 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

      Thanks Anax – that’s a relief. I thought I’d missed something that should have been obvious.

  2. Jezza
    Posted June 26, 2013 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

    I had to cheat on 7d, or i’d have been there all day. Apart from that, just about the right level of difficulty for a Wednesday toughie. Many thanks to Elkamere for the entertainment, and to Gazza for the review.

  3. BigBoab
    Posted June 26, 2013 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

    Superb toughie from Elkamere which had me beat, needed the hints for 7d and (for some reason) 25a, thanks to Gazza for the review/hints and Elkamere for a great toughie.

  4. the dodger
    Posted June 26, 2013 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

    A good level of toughness, I needed help for 7dn having fallen into the trap of thinking 4 meant IV and was part of an anagram, only when the penny dropped and I got 8ac did I feel stumped with the C .
    Still kicking myself for not getting 3dn, great clue,totally threw myself thinking of better and rob. Enough time wasted, but a lot of fun amongst the groans.
    Thanks to Elka ‘n’ Gazz.

  5. Pegasus
    Posted June 26, 2013 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

    I really enjoyed this 7d also the last in for me, favourites were 1a 3d 17d and 26a thanks to Elkamere and to Gazza for the review.

  6. 2Kiwis
    Posted June 26, 2013 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

    7d did need a little electronic help to complete the puzzle. It took us quite some time to get there but the answers flowed is steadily and regularly (as opposed to a log-jam), which made the whole process very satisfying and enjoyable.
    Thanks Elkamere and Gazza.

  7. halcyon
    Posted June 26, 2013 at 8:58 pm | Permalink

    A mixed bag. Some great clues: [1a, 13a] and the Anax trademark – cunningly hidden definitions
    [19a, 3d]. But I think some clues are pushing it a bit. 25a has a noun defined by an adjective and 7d is right on the borderline of fairness [dodgy definition combined with very oblique wordplay]. 22d is cleverly defined but how can “same old” [boring] define a noun?
    On the other hand it was a real brain-biter and I got there in the end.
    Thanks to Elkamere and Gazza.

  8. andy
    Posted June 26, 2013 at 10:28 pm | Permalink

    Wow, this took me far longer than I expected, but as is the sign of an excellent crossword I don’t know why. 1a is sublime, thanks Elkamere and Gazza for explaining 8a , my head hung in shame that I couldn’t parse it

  9. guscat
    Posted June 26, 2013 at 11:43 pm | Permalink

    Thanks Gazza for 7d – if that’s not the obscure one then only the Good Lord (and Elkamere) know what we’re in for next time.

    Good stuff so thanks to all.

    • gazza
      Posted June 27, 2013 at 7:20 am | Permalink

      Welcome to the blog guscat.